Swan White

Press Release

Media Contact:
Melissa Abernathy, Communications Manager
804-358-7166, ext. 315

April 16, 2024

Step into Maymont's Story with a New Architecture Audio Tour


Richmond, Virginia – Maymont is offering a new way to explore the origin story of this 100-year-old estate that has been open to the public since 1926. A narrated audio guide takes guests on a self-paced walking tour of the historic buildings along the main corridor from the gatehouse to the Maymont Mansion lawn. Developed by Maymont’s curator, the narration delves into the design inspirations, the cultural context and the stories of the people who made it all possible.

The Architecture Tour debuts on April 19, and will be available from 10am - 5pm during the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, April 20 – 27, along with an additional tour, the Historic Garden Tour. For either tour, guests pick up and return an audio device in the Stone Barn Welcome Center, along with an illustrated map showing the locations of each of the stops along the way. Guests may visit the locations in any order, simply pointing the audio device at the numbered beacons to hear the narrative.

After April 28th, both tours will be available when the Stone Barn Welcome Center is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tours may be reserved in advance online, or onsite at the Stone Barn Welcome Center. The cost is $8 per person, $6 for children ages 3-16 and adults 65+, and free for Maymont members and for participants in the Museums for All program (with SNAP/EBT card).

“The Architecture Tour offers insights into the American Gilded Age, a period marked by rapid economic growth, technology advances, and rise of Jim Crow laws,” said Kathy Garrett-Cox, Curator and Director of Historic Resources and Collections. “The Dooleys lived at Maymont from the end of the Victorian era to the dawn of the Jazz Age, and they embraced new technologies like electricity and automobiles as they replaced gas lighting and horse power.”

The Dooleys discovered the property on one of their daily horseback rides. James Dooley later said that he and his wife were so taken with “the beauty of the views of the river and the beautiful oaks that were on the slope of that hill” that they bought the property in 1886. With a virtually blank canvas of tree-lined rolling pastures, they chose the highest ridge of the property to build their new home, at the crest of a long, tree-lined drive. Completed in 1893, the mansion was designed in a blend of two trendy architectural styles of the day, Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne, by local architect Edgerton Stewart Rogers.

The other buildings lining the service road from Hampton Street to the Mansion were added between the 1890s and 1912, and were designed to evoke the charm of an Old World village, while serving utilitarian functions. They include a caretaker’s cottage, a barn, a carriage house and a garage, all built between 1893 and 1923 and designed or remodeled by prominent local architectural firm, Noland and Baskervill. Completing the tour are a neoclassical mausoleum built in 1923 and a charming red-roofed gazebo, both overlooking the river.

For more information, visit Maymont.org/audio-tours. The Stone Barn is located near the Hampton Street entrance, 1700 Hampton Street, where free parking is available.

Maymont is a well-preserved, historic 100-acre estate overlooking the James River that was given to the public by James and Sallie Dooley, who lived there from 1893 to 1925. Today, Maymont is a welcoming community gathering place, with many unique experiences for all to enjoy, including the historic Maymont Mansion, The Robins Nature Center, an arboretum, formal gardens, and habitats for native Virginia wildlife and farm animals. Consistently ranked one of Central Virginia’s top attractions by travelers and locals alike, Maymont serves over 700,000 guests annually, with free admission to the grounds, plus guided and self-guided tours, seasonal events, programs and rental spaces. Since 1975, Maymont has been maintained and operated by the nonprofit Maymont Foundation, committed to creating programs and experiences that delight, educate and inspire its guests.

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Note to editors: photos selected sights along the tour are available upon request to mabernathy@maymont.org